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Fasciola hepatica

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Definition

noun

A liver fluke belonging to the family Fasciolidae of the class Trematoda, and is endemic in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and South Africa


Supplement

Fasciola hepatica is a trematode (fluke) of the phylum Platyhelminthes. Together with other parasitic trematodes such as Paragonimus westermani and Clonorchis sinensis, it is classified under tissue flukes since it infests the tissues of its definitive host, such as mammals and humans. Both Fasciola hepatica and Clonorchis sinensis invade the liver of their hosts whereas Paragonimus westermani invades the lungs of the host. Fasciola hepatica infests the livers of its definitive host and cause fascioliasis. Its intermediate hosts are aquatic snails, e.g. Lymnaea. It leaves the snail host and encysts on aquatic vegetation. Mammals, particularly those that are herbivores, e.g. cattle and sheep, may acquire the worm when they feed on contaminated plants. Within the mammalian host, the larvae migrate from the duodenum into the liver and the bile ducts.

Fasciola hepatica is shaped like a leaf. It tapers at the end and wide in the front. It is a large fluke. It may reach up to 30 mm by 13 mm. A closely related species, Fasciola gigantica, is bigger and may reach up to 75 mm.


Scientific classification:

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Platyhelminthes
  • Class: Trematoda
  • Subclass: Digenea
  • Order: Echinostomida
  • Suborder: Distomata
  • Family: Fasciolidae
  • Genus: Fasciola
  • Species: F. hepatica [Linnaeus, 1758]

Other common name(s):

  • common liver fluke
  • sheep liver fluke

See also: